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Author: Ken Garner

City in ‘good’ financial health, plans budget workshop

“We’ve been very reactive the last couple of years. This year, we’re going to change that,” Bolduc said, explaining that he would like each department head to present a five-year plan for his or her department as well as its needs for the 2022-23 budget year during the workshop. He also expects to present updated sales tax projections and propose new projects to be funded with the unanticipated local sales tax surplus.

He also asked the council to cancel its July regular meeting to focus solely on the budget workshop.

The council approved Bolduc’s request and agreed he should schedule the workshop for a Wednesday in July. Bolduc said the workshop meeting likely will be held at the Robert L. F. Sikes Crestview Public Library, 1445 Commerce Drive, and will be open to the public.

The city currently has a total budget of almost $57.3 million; the general fund, over which the council has the most control, is about $21.6 million.

The council also approved a resolution amending the current budget to reflect a $29,200 donation from the Crestview Rotary Club to help fund the Wilson Street Splash Pad and establishing a budget of $167,995 for the city’s Animal Control Department.

‘We’re in the animal control business’

Bolduc said the city has hired two employees for its new Animal Control Department, a kennel technician and an administrator, and hope to add another kennel tech soon. The Laurel Hill facility is open, and the Crestview facility is “getting closer,” Bolduc added.

“We’re wide open,” he told councilmembers. “We’re taking animals in, getting their shots and spaying and neutering and all that. We’re in the animal control business for sure.”

Since taking responsibility for animal control services from a contractor earlier this year, Bolduc said staff has rescued “everything from ducks to owls to raccoons.”

The city will post its animal adoption policy to its social media platforms soon, Bolduc said, encouraging anyone who can to adopt rescue animals.

Golf club exceeding expectations

Despite opening without a restaurant and only nine playable holes, Blackwater Golf Club has almost doubled revenue projections, Bolduc said. Staff had projected total revenue of about $20,000 for the golf club’s first month in operation; instead, the city collected almost $40,000, fueled primarily by the popular Toptracer Driving Range.

The city bought the 129-acre Foxwood Golf Course in August 2020 and is spending about $2.5 million of the city’s reserve funds to renovate the property. Bolduc said the final nine holes should be open to the public this week, with the restaurant scheduled to open by June 1.

Honoring Carver-Hill’s legacy

The council also approved allowing the Carver-Hill Memorial and Historical Society to use city facilities for a basketball tournament May 13-14 to benefit the society. Crestview’s Carver School, named for African-American agricultural scientist and inventor George Washington Carver, opened in 1915. In 1954, the school became known as the Carver-Hill School to honor Edward Hill, a pastor who fought for better funding for Black schools. The school educated African-American children before Okaloosa County fully desegregated its school system in 1968. The city established the Carver-Hill Museum at Allen Park, which is managed by the historical society, to honor the school’s heritage.

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